Would ABS save the situation? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Would ABS save the situation?

Hi all,

I got out this morning and it was barely drizzling and the ground wasn't even wet when I left the house. Then started riding and the rain got a bit more, which was not a big deal. I know the roads were going to be slick, but took the normal precaution that I do when it rains - stay far from cars and anticipate traffic lights better.
So I am looking at a traffic light infront of me and thought I could make it, but then thought against it given the wet and slippery situation. I got on the brakes lightly and then squeezed a bit more so that I am stopped comfortably when I got to the light.

Next thing I know, bike is on its side sliding down the street and I am following it and we both stopped past the traffic light.

I didn't get hurt (I was ATGATT - except for the thick khaki pants that held up) except a small bruise that came through the pants. Everything happened exteremely fast, so no time to react to any of this.

Motorcycle ended up with a bent brake handle, scratch to the fairing, scratch to the engine guard, and the Givi V35's. Mirrors were both loose - that is about it.

So I was watching ABS equipped bike performance on youtube this past weekend and I am thinking it would have saved the situation. I mean the road was so slick that I would not have the reaction time to correct what was going on. I didn't even feel the wheels sliding, just heard and saw the bike sliding down the road.

What do you all think?
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:30 PM
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Glad you are OK! It sounds like you were doing everything right....I know abs works extremelly quickly but it sounds like things happened so fast I wonder if it could've reacted in time of the initial slip?

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Old 05-14-2012, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by stallhorn View Post

Next thing I know, bike is on its side sliding down the street and I am following it and we both stopped past the traffic light.



What do you all think?
Please note that my statements below are meant to be helpful so you can possibly avoid this in the future.

I know you were asking whether ABS would have helped in this situation, but based on your comment above I don't think so.

If you were coming to a stop on a straight road there should have been no reason for the bike to be sliding on its side down the street and for you to be surprised.

I have personally slid up to many lights when I lived in slippery road Florida and never put a bike down doing that. Sometimes I would end up at an angle with my front tire still pointing towards the direction of travel.

If you keep the bike balanced there is no reason for it to go down. Did you grow up locking up the rear brake on your BMX bicycle in the dirt? If not I recommend you do. Great practice for when you lock up the rear wheel on a motorcycle.

I recommend you practice some panic stopping. A great time to practice is when you are about to replace the rear tire.

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Old 05-14-2012, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by stallhorn View Post
I got on the brakes lightly and then squeezed a bit more so that I am stopped comfortably when I got to the light.

Next thing I know, bike is on its side sliding down the street and I am following it and we both stopped past the traffic light.
Is it possible you were applying brakes while on one of the stop bars or directional arrows painted white on the street? I avoid driving over them, stopping on them, putting my feet down on them, or starting out over them. If they are wet, or worse - oily and wet, they are slick as hell. Even on a dry day I have slipped when putting my feet on them.

Glad you OK and was wearing your gear.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:18 PM
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First off, thank goodness you're not hurt.

In answer to your question, yes, I think ABS would have helped. The way I read your situation, your front wheel locked and unless you were pointing directly straight, the bike would start sliding. The V is a heavy beast and if your wheels were not pointed directly straight ahead, it would tumble fairly easily.

ABS would have helped by not locking the front wheel thus allowing you time to make steering corrections as necessary.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about just this yesterday, but in respect of a dry road and new tires. Assuming you squeezed hard on the front brakes and the tires held, you could actually be thrown over the handlebars as the back lifts up. A worn tire would actually avoid this as the traction is decreased, allowing the ABS to kick in and stop the tire from locking up. Does this make sense?
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all.

twowheeladdict, I am here to learn from a group of very civil experienced guys and gals and I posted this to see if I can learn something from it.. If I don't learn from this, I will repeat the same mistake and not be able to come and post about it here! So please keep it coming.

Now, I am going on a straight road and was primarily if not exclusively using the front brakes. I was not in a turn and I was thinking it might slide, so I expected the front wheel to slide straight forward. I do practice hard stopping on dry surface and on wet surface a few times, but not going 40 MPH.

But the road I was traveling on has imperfections in that the center is crowned. I usually ride in the middle to avoid the puddle of water that accumulates in the grooves car tires make. Maybe that was where I went wrong.. it is probably more slippery there.

I have a good reflex that came from a few years of flight instructing, so I am not that slow to react especially when I know it is coming.

I am watching
and the time between when the sliding started and the bike went out of control is very short. The bike was also going straight.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:29 PM
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But the road I was traveling on has imperfections in that the center is crowned. I usually ride in the middle to avoid the puddle of water that accumulates in the grooves car tires make. Maybe that was where I went wrong.. it is probably more slippery there.
The cnter of a lane is the most slippery part of the road. Even worse at a intersection. When a vehicle drops any fluids they fall into the center of the lane as the car travels over, or sits there at the light. I personally always stay in one of the wheel lanes.

ABS does help, but it is not the end all best thing in the world for braking.

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Old 05-14-2012, 10:12 PM
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IMO, ABS would not help in this situation. ABS prevents the wheels from locking up, so that you still can steer and control the bike, away from danger. In your situation, if I read correctly, there was no long lockups but it happened suddenly. You may have hit an uneven surface that could have triggered the slip...and i think you may still be using the original tires. If so, changing to better tires would have prevented such situations. The Dunlops are really bad when wet, and worse when going over painted surfaces. It's like riding on ice.

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Old 05-15-2012, 01:00 PM
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We can speculate to eternity on this one about what happened. However, since not even you can tell what happened I will add to the general speculative thread.

Things that could have helped you:

Low side was probably a result of the rear tire lock with a slip on the front. If that is the case ABS should have helped since it would have avoided the rear lock.

No lock both tires slipping. Traction control could have been the savior since it helps control slippage while in movement.

MSF training. One of the first things they teach you is when not to ride. Drizzle or light rain, stop for coffee, wait until it actually rains and the slick stuff washes away or after the road dries. This one would have been the best to use.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:03 PM
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Glad you are OK! It sounds like you were doing everything right....I know abs works extremelly quickly but it sounds like things happened so fast I wonder if it could've reacted in time of the initial slip?
I BELIEVE ABS could have "saved-the-day".

Quote:
Originally Posted by stallhorn View Post
Thanks all.

twowheeladdict, I am here to learn from a group of very civil experienced guys and gals and I posted this to see if I can learn something from it.. If I don't learn from this, I will repeat the same mistake and not be able to come and post about it here! So please keep it coming.

Now, I am going on a straight road and was primarily if not exclusively using the front brakes. I was not in a turn and I was thinking it might slide, so I expected the front wheel to slide straight forward. I do practice hard stopping on dry surface and on wet surface a few times, but not going 40 MPH.

But the road I was traveling on has imperfections in that the center is crowned. I usually ride in the middle to avoid the puddle of water that accumulates in the grooves car tires make. Maybe that was where I went wrong.. it is probably more slippery there.

I have a good reflex that came from a few years of flight instructing, so I am not that slow to react especially when I know it is coming.

I am watching http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3MfLcJLaCs and the time between when the sliding started and the bike went out of control is very short. The bike was also going straight.
A week or so back, I was riding where they'd not yet removed the sand from the winter from the road surface, and I was being cautious because of it. I started to slow using a VERY SLIGHT application of both brakes when my rear momentarily ("momentarily" - because I got out of my brakes IMMEDIATELY!) locked-up and started to skid sideways. I suppose I avoided a low-side by virtue of the fact that I was expecting possible problems, but it still surprised the 'heck' out of me!

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Old 05-15-2012, 06:08 PM
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As mentioned light rain or drizzle can be tricky riding conditions, i have one AbS and one non ABS bike and my 2 cents on ABS it possibly could of made the difference as it certainly would of prevented lock up but as also said this is a speculative thread and unless there was actual vid footage of incident and the (versys riders special road investagtion team )examines the scene we will continue to speculate.

I do know from emergency braking practice on my ABS bike that i almost feel ill because of how quick you can stop in a straight line on front brakes if you keep your head up, throttle off, brake to take load out of front shocks then really brake, it is cheating a wee bit with the ABS as i have nearly got myself in serious trouble getting back on the non ABS versys and over braking.

Main thing is your okay and want to learn from the incident.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:18 PM
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My next bike will have ABS. I would be willing to apply the brakes a lot harder and focus more if I didn't have to put any effort into not locking up a wheel. I know some cool guy bikers who will swear they are such good riders they won't need it but the same exact thing happened with cars 10-20 years ago. I admit I thought I was to good to need ABS but I've grown up and am more aware and honest with myself. ABS wouldn't have hurt, that's for sure.
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:48 PM
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Absolutly ABS would have helped the situation. Possibly saving the day.

However, like all other rider aids. They are passive, the rider has to make the mistake first. Not knoking the OP. I'm just saying in this day and age of tech crazyness it makes a die hard enthusiast sad that most (not all) folks would rather buy equipment to artifically raise the competancy level instead of actually achieving it. Which in the end would make them much safer than any rider aid ever could.

I'd actually give kudos to the OP for having posting this and asking for insight. Glad to know he got out of it with basically no harm. Just a learning experience to share with us all.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:56 AM
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Glad to hear U are ok.

ABS does help to prevent a wheel lock-up.

Not sure of your tires, but the oem dunlop just gave me the ****s in the wet. Changed to a different brand the moment I got my bike (both on the 2008 and 2011 V model).

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Old 05-16-2012, 07:55 AM
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You should have been using both brakes and should always apply some rear brake when slowing down. The fact that you state you may not have used the rear brake does not mean the rear didn't slide. It could have slid due to engine braking when you let off the throttle. When riding in rain I like to keep the RPMs real low. That helps prevent wheel slip when accelerating and when slowing down. The rear wheel sliding due to engine braking will not be prevented with ABS brakes.

As others have said, you have to stay out of the oil slick in the center of the road.

I do stress that you should practice controlled wheel lock up in a grassy area starting at a couple miles an hour and working your speed up.

Also, I recommend you pick up a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling" and "Street Strategies" by David Hough, as well as "Total Control" by Lee Parks. Great books to help get your mind in the game. "Street Strategies" reads like a daily devotion so you can read one a day or skim through to the ones that are pertinent to the riding you encounter.

For me, the fact that you went down before you realized what was happening tells me you must have been off balance. Otherwise you would have slid some before going down.

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Old 05-17-2012, 08:48 AM
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The front brake and paint are not your friends in the rain. I try and just not use the front when in downtown areas or intersections when it’s raining. I had the same exact thing happen to me last year and I was on the ground so fast it was nothing I could have done well except not use the front brake. What happened was I broke my own rule of being extra slow......I was a little to fast and a blue hair just pulled out of a side street right in front of me. My reaction was to grab the front brake!!! The bike had a heavy load because I was traveling and I hit the front right in a area where there was a ton of road paint. Stupid but it happens and I had been riding all day, 500 plus miles so I was tired. It all added up to my fault so live and learn.

Would ABS help in this type of scenario, the simple answer is yes, I guess!! Of course it would have helped but still if you grab a big hand full of front in the rain its still has the potential to put you on your ear especially if your on that nasty cross walk/direction arrow paint. In my case the planets aligned and not in my favor. Rain, paint on the road, off camber and downhill road, tired rider, fully loaded bike, front brake = On my ear;-)

The best rule of thumb is to slow down and relax and reduce the amount of input into riding the bike. Riding in rain just requires you think about your objective and then just slow down and take your time, be very smooth, and allow plenty of distance to stop. Make small corrections and ride gentile. Ultra gentle inputs with brakes, clutch, steering and throttle. I try to just not touch the front brake. Make sure no one is following too closely for the reason just stated. Falling down at low speed on a slick surface probably won’t hurt you, but if the car behind you can’t stop or doesn’t know how, it could be nasty. If I get a tail-gater in rain/snow I pull over or wave him past. Also, don’t expect drivers to recognize how precarious things are.

Falling rain and driving wind pushing rain around will make you harder to see and they will cut you off, turn in front of you, and stop without warning. Unless it’s a light, brief rain or you are close to home, head for the closest motel or eatery, or the quickest way out of the storm. Start your ride late or just wait until the rain slows down before pulling out; also try to avoid any area that will have a rush hour and go after that craziness is over!

I ride everyday rain or shine and it just pays to slow down and get there safe.

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Old 05-17-2012, 09:38 PM
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The front brake and paint are not your friends in the rain. I try and just not use the front when in downtown areas or intersections when itís raining. I had the same exact thing happen to me last year and I was on the ground so fast it was nothing I could have done well except not use the front brake. What happened was I broke my own rule of being extra slow......I was a little to fast and a blue hair just pulled out of a side street right in front of me. My reaction was to grab the front brake!!! The bike had a heavy load because I was traveling and I hit the front right in a area where there was a ton of road paint. Stupid but it happens and I had been riding all day, 500 plus miles so I was tired. It all added up to my fault so live and learn.

Would ABS help in this type of scenario, the simple answer is yes, I guess!! Of course it would have helped but still if you grab a big hand full of front in the rain its still has the potential to put you on your ear especially if your on that nasty cross walk/direction arrow paint. In my case the planets aligned and not in my favor. Rain, paint on the road, off camber and downhill road, tired rider, fully loaded bike, front brake = On my ear;-)

The best rule of thumb is to slow down and relax and reduce the amount of input into riding the bike. Riding in rain just requires you think about your objective and then just slow down and take your time, be very smooth, and allow plenty of distance to stop. Make small corrections and ride gentile. Ultra gentle inputs with brakes, clutch, steering and throttle. I try to just not touch the front brake. Make sure no one is following too closely for the reason just stated. Falling down at low speed on a slick surface probably wonít hurt you, but if the car behind you canít stop or doesnít know how, it could be nasty. If I get a tail-gater in rain/snow I pull over or wave him past. Also, donít expect drivers to recognize how precarious things are.

Falling rain and driving wind pushing rain around will make you harder to see and they will cut you off, turn in front of you, and stop without warning. Unless itís a light, brief rain or you are close to home, head for the closest motel or eatery, or the quickest way out of the storm. Start your ride late or just wait until the rain slows down before pulling out; also try to avoid any area that will have a rush hour and go after that craziness is over!

I ride everyday rain or shine and it just pays to slow down and get there safe.
I agree with most everything you say except not using the front brake. You need to use it. You just have to be as light on it as you are regarding everything else. Now if your front brake is grabby, then you need to service it so it isn't and then use it.

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Old 05-18-2012, 06:24 PM
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I agree with most everything you say except not using the front brake. You need to use it. You just have to be as light on it as you are regarding everything else. Now if your front brake is grabby, then you need to service it so it isn't and then use it.
I have to agree - always consider your front brake your friend.

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Old 05-20-2012, 11:58 PM
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Rain Tires...

After watching todays Moto GP race in france...in the rain...you get the feeling that the rain tires they race on are super sticky and soft...with lots of grooves and sipes to do what they do at 180 mph also the electronics like traction control help, but I don't think they use ABS...only rider skills with precise feel of the contact patch and what can happen when pushed too far...supermoto training is a great way to gain confidence...think slicks on dirt surface...brake slides are all about brake pressure on the levers...so with good sticky rain tires on your bike like Michilen Pilot Road 3 's you stand a better chance to feel what the contact patch is doing...Best $ 400 dollars...ouch
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